President Mokgweetsi Masisi has hailed Botswana’s founding President, Sir Seretse Khama, as one of Africa’s greatest icons, a Pan Africanist in his own right and man of his own words.
Masisi said this at the centenary celebrations of the late Khama in Gaborone this morning.
He said Khama took concrete steps to actualize the ideals he professed.
“Ga a ise a ke a nne motlhanka wa mafoko a gagwe. In other words he never was a servant of his own words. Let me thank the people of Serowe, for lending Botswana such a legend and a visionary statesman who made a formidable contribution to the success that Botswana is today and the development of Africa especially Southern Africa,” he said
Masisi said Seretse, as his name suggests, ‘the clay that binds together’, was an embodiment of democracy, unity, non-racism and development.
He said he was a constitutional republican and a democrat who pioneered inclusive politics, and who out rightly rejected one party state system and monarchical rule.
The president said this was because Khama also detested absolutism, abuse of power and greed by anyone, and was especially against the involvement of Dikgosi in politics.
‘The four celebrated national values of Democracy, Development, Self- Reliance and Unity, which our first President championed with vigour and tenacity, have carried us through good and bad seasons. These are the values premised on our Setswana culture that have delivered the sound socio- economic development, political stability, peace and unity that Botswana is known for globally,’ he added
For his part, former President Festus Mogae said Khama became synonymous with the bedrock of Botswana, celebrated homogeneity and sustained democracy over the years. He said what he remembers most about him was that he was a genuine democrat.
“He was a very consultative leader who never wished to have his way alone, but always sought the views of the collective, before taking any position. It did not matter to him that he was President, but mattered most that he was neither infallible nor possessed the monopoly of knowledge on any issues. His open-minded outlook transcended the person to constitute one of the fundamental ethos of his leadership,” said Mogae